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Mosley slumming against loudmouth Mayorga
Lyle Fitzsimmons


By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - One has four title belts from three weight classes.

The other is a three-belt champion from two classes.

And together they've participated in some of the highest-profile 147- and 154- pound bouts - either through significance or spectacle, or both - of the last decade.

So how come nobody seems to care they're actually fighting each other Saturday night?

Though Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga are the headline attraction on the 11- bout card this weekend at the Staples Center, it seems just as much attention - both in this space and others - has been given instead to the main support bout between Andre Berto and Steve Forbes.

The logical reason is that the latter is for the WBC welterweight championship and the Mosley-Mayorga bout is title-free, but to me the lack of tangible buzz is far more a product of lingering promotional fatigue than insufficient shoulder jewelry.

Quite frankly, I feel like I've seen and heard this movie already...about 27 times.


Ricardo Mayorga headlines the 11- bout card this weekend at the Staples Center.
While "Sugar" Shane is clearly among the greats of his generation and still one of the best in the world in his chosen weight range, by taking a match with Mayorga he unfortunately becomes part of the same lowest-common- denominator treadmill thats run seemingly non-stop for about five years.

Ever since the Nicaraguan toppled Mosley conqueror Vernon Forrest for dual welterweight crowns in 2003, the images of him puffing on cigarettes, drawing his thumb across his throat and issuing menacing threats have been far more persistent than subsequent successes he's had in the ring.

Which begs the question, why does anyone bother with this guy anymore?

He's just 3-3 in six fights since the second Forrest victory - including decisive KO losses to Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya - but if you think it's toned down the vitriol heading into yet another match with yet another foe seemingly destined to blacken his eyes, think again.

"This is going to be a short fight, like in the amateurs, only three rounds," Mayorga said, kicking off the press tour. "This will be Shane's permanent return home because the old ladies need a home. I'll be the man that night and he'll be my woman. I'm from the country where we only breed men.

"Maybe Oscar will have the guts to fight me in a rematch after I beat Shane up good."

Ummmm...yeah.

Not only is the nonsense more than likely a prelude to an easy Mosley victory, it's not even of the high level the loquacious Mayorga could at least be counted on to deliver as a dead man walking toward previous in-ring executions in New York and Las Vegas.

"I predict (a KO) around (rounds) three or five," he said before the Trinidad blowout in 2004. "I really don't want to cause the Trinidad family any grief, so I will please ask the dad to stay close and do not let the fight go on longer than needed."

Result: Trinidad KO 8.

"I'm the champion. You've got to recognize that. My strongest hand is my right hand. You see his eye? I'm going to detach his retina," he said before the De La Hoya match, two years later. "You remind me of an old lady that's past her prime that should be sitting home in a rocking chair doing nothing."

Result: De La Hoya KO 6.

To his credit, Mosley has taken the high road throughout the wordy sideshow, intermittently taking Mayorga's bait but usually limiting his own tough talk to matter-of-fact sentences that fall far short of his opponent's level of imagery.

He countered yet another mouthy diatribe during Wednesday's final media gathering, promising little more than a decisive win come fight night.

"Mayorga tells a lot of jokes and stories, but he always comes up short," Mosley said. "Yes, he won against Fernando Vargas in November, but he didn't knock him out. Remember that when you stand toe to toe with me, I want you to take it like a man.

"Everyone wants to retire me. I'm not going anywhere. I'm here to knock guys out."

Next time, I just hope it'll be someone who makes me want to pay attention.

FitzHitz says: Mosley KO 10.

* * * * * * *

Meanwhile, on a more personal front...it's T-minus 28 days.

Only four full weeks remain until, as mentioned in this space, I live out a long-term dream by stepping into a ring for a professional junior middleweight bout against South Florida-based foe Marcelo Montero on Oct. 24 in Miami.

Though I've never met Marcelo face to face, I've kept in e-mail contact with him over the past several weeks for both logistics and reconnaissance, and have since found him almost as much the class-clown, smart-aleck type as I've always prided myself on being.

But probably even funnier.

Reacting to my Thursday probe for some training information -- for journalism purposes, of course -- my soon-to-be worst enemy not only failed to give me nuggets I'd been seeking about his workout regimen, but also managed to turn the tables and get me wondering exactly what I'm getting into.

For the record, he's previously copped to being a 5-foot-8, 30-year-old father of two, while vehemently denying the notion he's a ticked-off UFC fan clandestinely luring me into a violent back-alley beat down.

"You won't even tell me your weight, (let alone) what your training consists of," he said.

"My training consists of eating a lot of double cheeseburgers to maintain 154 lbs. Being a little guy, I eat a lot of junk food, run about one mile weekly and maybe, just maybe, hit a heavy bag here and there. You are the real boxer here sir, not me. Me an MMA fighter? Not a chance!! LOL."

You know what...suddenly it's getting a lot harder to "hate" this guy.

* * * * * * *

This weeks championship capsules:

Saturday

WBC welterweight title -- Los Angeles, Calif.

Andre Berto (champion) vs. Steve Forbes (No. 15 challenger)

Berto (22-0, 19 KO): First title defense; three-fight KO streak

Forbes (33-6, 9 KO): One win in last four fights; former IBF 130-pound champion

FitzHitz says: Berto KO 10

WBA cruiserweight title -- Hamburg, Germany

First Arslan (champion) vs. Guillermo Jones (No. 1 challenger)

Arslan (29-3-1, 18 KO): Second title defense; 22nd fight in Germany

Jones (35-3-2, 27 KO): Went 0-1-1 in 154-pound title tries in 1998

FitzHitz says: Arslan W 12

WBC light flyweight title -- Mexico City, Mexico

Edgar Sosa (champion) vs. Sonny Boy Jaro (No. 7 challenger)

Sosa (32-5, 17 KO): Five successful title defenses, four by KO or DQ

Jaro (28-6-5, 17 KO): First world title chance; first fight in North America

FitzHitz says: Sosa KO 10

Last week's record: 3-0

Overall picks record: 21-7

Lyle Fitzsimmons is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He provides "In The Ring" commentary for Speeding Bullet Network (speedingbulletnetwork.com), is a periodic contributor to 'The Drive with Dave Smith' on KLAA radio (am830klaa.com) and can be contacted via e-mail at fitzbitz@msn.com.

Jabs, hooks or knockouts, Lyle Fitzsimmons can be reached at fitzbitz@msn.com.

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